I have a separate DVD binder for my holiday movies and they’re all in alphabetical order. I mean, my regular DVD’s are in alphabetical order, but again, I have an entirely separate binder for my holiday movies. That’s how many there are. And also I have a weird thing about not wanting to see holiday movies when it’s not the holidays and not wanting to see regular movies when it is.
When I do holidays, I do them big. And the ones I do the biggest are Halloween and Christmas. I love the sights, the sounds, and the smells. I love the joy and excitement, and sometimes the best way to really experience that is by watching movies (or putting them on as background noise while you decorate).
Halloween movies could really count as any scary or suspenseful movie, depending on how often you do or don’t watch them, but there are ones that I don’t watch any other time of year that I just save for the fall/Halloween time. Those are the ones I’m including in this list. I’m also not including movies that haven’t quite made it to “tradition” level yet, even if I do like them. So, without further ado, and in no particular order, let’s get into it.
I am a huge Tim Burton fan and have made it my mission to see every movie he’s ever done. I’m sure it’s a childhood thing (watched Nightmare Before Christmas all the time as a kid), but his style is so distinct and I love it. Corpse Bride is very obviously a T.B. between the big eyes, the stop-motion animation, and the overall darkness of the film. Not to mention the Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter combo. Plus, the whole movie is fun for adults and children.
I mean, almost any T.B. animated movie could be on this list, but this is another I watch every year. It’s another good family movie, but I will warn you; if your dog is like your baby, this will make you cry at some point. It’s still cute and funny and as dark as you would expect a T.B. animated movie to be. Also, it’s in black and white.
Nightmare Before Christmas
I feel like this one goes without saying. It’s the epitome of Halloween, and it’s perfect for November, too, with the nice Halloween/Christmas crossover. Also, Jack and Sally forever.
This is a nice, macabre family movie with a lot of lessons. It’s not actually set on Halloween, but does include a lot of Halloween elements (the undead, witches, etc.). It might be a bit scary closer to the end for some smaller kids, but the lessons of acceptance and love and forgiveness are ones that you just can’t miss. Plus the style is just too cute.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Okay, but this is a classic. I got a Charlie Brown holiday 3-pack from Target a few years ago, and I’m so excited. I feel like my love for this movie should be obvious, but in case it’s not, suffice it to say that this is one of the most Halloween-y movies for families with absolutely zero spookiness and 100% fun. Also, I feel the need to note, that I don’t actually have kids and I just watch this because it makes my heart happy.
I will say this is a movie I occasionally watch even when it’s not close to Halloween, but I always watch it during the Halloween season, ever since it was released on DVD. It’s so cute with all the old school Halloween monsters, and there are so many famous actors voicing characters. The second one is cute, too, but the original is definitely the best. Plus, I love the lessons in this one about trust, love, family, and prejudice.
Yes, I am that girl. Hocus Pocus is probably my favorite Halloween movie (aside from Nightmare Before Christmas) and even though it only came out in the 90s, it’s already been dubbed a classic. If you’ve never seen it: what are you doing with your life!? The fab combo of Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson Sisters and their counterparts: Thora Birch, Omri Katz, and Vinessa Shaw, make this family movie one that will honestly probably survive through the ages. It’s fun, spooky, and the few songs there are will absolutely get stuck in your head.
I’ve been watching Casper since I could remember. It came out on video when I was five and I’ve been watching it ever since. I went through that phase as a kid where I would watch a movie over and over and never get tired of it, and Casper was one of them. It’s interesting to see how different it is to me as an adult, but I will always love Christina Ricci, and I had a huge crush on Devon Sawa as alive Casper. Plus, adult me loves Bill Pullman.
Addams Family Values
I will admit, I’m not a huge fan of the first Addams Family movies. It probably has something to do with the fact that I watched the second way more as a kid, but I don’t ever want to live in a world where Uncle Fester doesn’t know Gomez as his brother. It’s just not right. Plus, seeing Wednesday interact with people not a normal part of her macabre world is hilarious to me. And again, Christina Ricci.
The Haunted Mansion
It’s more than just a fun ride at Disney, folks. Honestly, I just love seeing Eddie Murphy in the dad role. His movies were a big part of my childhood (Dr. Doolittle, anyone?) and he’s just as funny and real in this movie, too. It takes a lot of the elements from the Disney ride — Madame Liotta, the singing busts, and the ghosts — and incorporates them into a full-length movie with a great story!
Every year, at the end of summer, my best friend and I sit down to binge all four Scream movies. She’s a huge scary movie buff, and I love the 90s slasher films (thanks to her). We started this quite a few years ago, and it’s become a tradition for us.
Another Tim Burton classic, Beetlejuice is an obvious addition to the list. Between the monsters, the hauntings and Michael Keaton, it’s honestly just fun to watch any time of year.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Okay, but do you even know how many famous people are in this movie?! Not to mention it’s a classic, Tim Burton + Johnny Depp + Helena Bonham Carter combo. It’s so wonderfully dark and gory and bloody and the songs absolutely will get stuck in your head, but it’s worth it.
These are ones that I just recently started watching that will become tradition, or ones that I’ve watched in the past and loved but haven’t gotten them on DVD yet/watched in a long time.
You would think, based on this list, I’d have seen this movie already (I mean, a Tim Burton movie with Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci?!), but for whatever reason, this one just kept passing under my radar. I watched it for the first time at the beginning of last month, and OMG I love it so much!! Mystery, blood, jumpy scare tactics, J.D. (and loads of other famous actors), and it’s all set in upstate New York in the late 1700s!!
I’ve only actually seen the first two, but they’re absolute classics, and since I’ve been getting into the whole slasher horror genre, these fit right in! Apparently they only get better as the movies go on, and yeah, they’re infuriatingly cheesy at some points, but they’re a lot of fun to watch. Plus, as the title suggests, they actually do take place on Halloween.
Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space
I actually didn’t watch this one last year, but when I did after school care, we’d watch it every Halloween season with the kids. They loved the familiar Monsters vs. Aliens characters, and the whole thing takes place on Halloween night. It’s cute and funny, and not actually a full length movie, so great for less screen time and kiddos that can’t sit still for a whole movie.